Hi Friends,

Joining the military has been something I've considered for years. Now that I've been in the work force for a few years, my desire is getting stronger. I have a young daughter, however, and even though my wife is a military brat herself, I am hesitant based on what it would do to my family. But dang, there are some awesome jobs in the miliary, especially after sitting at a desk all day!

Thoughts? How have you all thought through this?

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I am considering the same thing. I am in a slightly different situation though, I'm getting ready to graduate from college and get married in a couple of months. I have been talking to everyone I know who has even a modicum of experience in this to get their advice, one of my friends is married with a young son and he is about to be commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the Army. He and his wife have talked it over and they are prepared for it.

Ask your wife, find out what the challenges were for her parents and her siblings. Talk to her parents, talk to her siblings, but most of all talk to her. I have been hashing this out in my mind and talking with my fiancee about this for six months, so if she's not sick of talking about this by now, she should at least be ready.

My thoughts are, it is one of the biggest commitments you could ever make and one of the most worthwhile choices you could make. If you do make the decision and join up, go whole hog. The hardship on your family can be mitigated, but the experiences you will have can never be duplicated.
Hey John,

That's awesome that you're thinking of joining the military, it's an incredible profession for sure. Which service/field are you looking at? I've only been in the Air Force for a few years, but if you have any questions please let me know, I'd be happy to give you any information I have.
I am only a sophomore in High school so i still have a ways, but i want to join for the hands on jobs and physically straining parts. I am always pushing myself to the point where it is dangerous sometimes, and i love being outside. However i am smart, i have a 4.06 and my mom and dad would be very upset if i put that aside and didn't go to college. I also am athletic and am starting on the varsity soccer team as a sophomore and want to continue that in college. I am stuck.
For your situation i think you should discuss it with your wife. I heard the military can be one of the most memorable and best things in your life. I don't know that much about it, but i would push for you to go since you are not happy with your job, Again i have no experience at all.
Matt. My advice to you. If you are truly interested in the military, and your parents want you to go to school and get an education, you can easily achieve both. Option 1. You could seek an appointment to one of the military academies (i.e, US Naval Academy, USAF Academy, West Point), they do, however, require the sponsorship of a US senator from your home state. Option 2. Whenever considering colleges look to see if the offer any ROTC programs, ROTC is the path where you take military classes while going to college, and upon graduation you are commissioned and officer in the military. Option 3. Go to college, get your degree, and after graduating you can apply of Officer Candidate School, where you go through a few weeks of training and come out an officer. Myself, I joined the Navy Reserve a few months back, I will have to take a semester off of college for my training, however, the Navy will also pay for my remaining years of college, and after I graduate I plan on going to Naval OCS and becoming a flight officer in the Navy. Hope I was able to help you out some.
Appointments to one of the U.S. military academies can be won a different number of ways; sponsorship by a member of congress is only one of them. Write to the academy of choice (admissions) and they will send you information about how to get an appointment. I got my appointment through a member of the house of representatives whom I never met--he turned me over to the Naval Academy appointment system where I took a competitive exam (I think they use the SAT now), received a physical exam, and took a PT test. Good luck.


I'm "living the dream" as a Plebe at USNA.  If your GPA is as good as you say it is, and you've taken challenging classes, as well as have some participation in sports and/or other examples of leadership, you would probably be competitive.  

They do use the SAT.  They say above 1800 is the baseline, but you'd want to be higher than that, I was at a 2010.

If you decide to go the academy route, you need to start applying in February of your Junior year, and DON'T get discouraged by the application process, because it is many times longer than the application for any other type of college.  Good luck, keep up the hard work.


-Ben Copenhaver


I'm down on 2-1, 16 Co. Glad to see some mids on here! Stick around 2/C LeDoux as much as you can; he's a good guy and one of my best friends.

I spent 9 years in the Air Force joining when I was 20 and it was the best choice I made for my life that set me up for greater opportunities. First and foremost the travel ... 9 countries and 20 states on Uncle Sam's dime was experiences that will stay with me a life time. My son (now 20) was 2 months old when I spent a 1 year remote tour in Korea and yes I missed a lot but with web cams now, it would be like you are just in the next room. What ever choice you make, make it with your wife and be ready for some tough times, but I do believe in the end if you select the military path you will be happy and a proud member of the Veteran Brotherhood.
John and all the others thinking about a military career--

I decided I wanted to join up--more specifically go to the Naval Academy--when I was 14. I focused my life toward that goal and when the time came (junior in high school) I applied. I was very fortunate in that I won a principle appointment. To say the least, it was an exciting four years; not all of it happy, but I stuck it out and after seeing several countries during summer cruises (on a battleship, a destroyer, a missile cruiser, and a volunteer cruise on a submarine) I graduated and went to sea on a brand new tin can (destroyer). Nothing like the civilian world--early responsibility as an officer of the deck in port and underway, leadership positions, technical assignments (chief engineer).

Without going into the gruesome details, the Navy and I discovered I was color blind (it wasn't strong, I could tell the difference between red and green, etc). In the Navy at that time you could not be color blind and be an officer of the line, so I became and Engineering Duty Officer (no more sea duty). Not what I wanted, so I transferred to the Army as an Infantry officer. Something I never regretted. Part of the next 16 years was two years in Vietnam as an infantry adviser to a South Vietnamese battalion, then as a rifle company commander, and finally as a brigade intelligence officer. I don't have the words to describe what that was like and even though I was wounded in combat I enjoyed the experiences and wouldn't have traded them even to be the CEO of Wells Fargo.

I think the military experience is one of the true elements of manliness and I can't recommend it strongly enough.

Armand G De Cesare

Roger that Brother, thanks for setting me up for success.  I wouldn't be around now if guys like you hadn't passed on their knowledge.

Welcome home.




I'll say it now, I'll say it loud, and I'll say it clear. The Army Rocks!!!! I'm a uni student in Australia and am doing officer training with the Australian Army Reserve. Never have I been more challenged, scared, extended and exhilirated.

A real sense of urgency and immediacy is thrust on you when you're given a team to lead and command, or when learning how to use a new weapon system, or when doing exercises and you're ambushed at night. I can say that as a result of my training, the quiet introverted dreamer has become confident, in charge and in control, and with lots of cool experiences to boot.

If you're thinking about the military, do it! If not as a full timer, then part time, I'm sure the US has a reserve program. I've got so many good memories in the past year of doing training. There are so many memories which could be lifted out of cinema, except guess what, it isn't.

Living life for real is so enjoyable. Don't be one of the passive people who watches TV and the movies, numbly listening to radio and casually reading blogs. Don't let life pass you by. Chase your dream and taste the sweet savour of living the life you know you want to live.

Matt, have you thought about Westpoint? Becoming an officer and getting a uni degree. I don't know much but there's ROTC. Being in the armed forces doesn't mean that you can't have intellectual pursuits. In the Australian Army all officers are strongly recommended to have a university degree if they haven't already got one, many going further to do masters.
I'm past the age to enlist myself. However, my father just retired for the US Air Force after 30 years. I can tell you that the respect I hold for him is incredible.

As for myself, I went into high school and college as a typical theater/artsy farsty type. I missed my chance. Now, in my 30's, I am reevaluating my life and am actually entering federal civilian service with a job in DC soon (fingers crossed). You can serve in many ways. But I don't think any are as sacrificing and rewarding as military service.


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